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3 things you need to focus on so you can feel happy in life

Did you know there are three aspects of happiness? In order to feel truly happy, we have to fulfil each of these areas: Pleasure, Engagement and Meaning. Let’s briefly explore why each of these components are important to your happiness; what activities might look like in each area; and the kind of things that could be getting in the way right now.


These are moments of happiness that generate positive feelings at the time, but don’t have a lasting effect. Think about the little things that (in moderation) you might consider a treat: chocolate, a massage, a relaxing bath. These are the type of activities that give you a short-term boost. You feel good during and immediately after, but they don’t generate lasting feelings of happiness. In fact, you’re hardly likely to remember the experience in a month’s time. That said, the more we increase pleasure in our lives, the happier we feel in the moment.

What gets in the way?

  • Feeling guilty for taking time out for ourselves
  • Thinking we have to be seen as being productive all of the time
  • Believing we are not deserving of a treat
  • Perceiving we don’t have enough time or money
  • Wearing busy-ness as a badge of self-worth


These are the moments when you are in a state of flow; totally absorbed in an experience, using your strengths for a task that’s challenging but achievable. This could be include taking part in a sport; baking; DIY; taking a walk; or working on a task from your work or volunteer role. Research shows actions of engagement increase our happiness and satisfaction in life with long-term effects; creating a reservoir of positive emotion that helps to buffer against stress in the future and increase our resilience.

What gets in the way?

  • Becoming distracted or multi-tasking
  • Lacking awareness of our areas of strength
  • Taking a ‘can’t do’ or ‘not possible’ attitude
  • Believing we have to be perfect
  • Overthinking (engagement is a full-bodied experience)


This is about having a purpose that’s bigger than you. It’s leading with your heart to live a life that has meaning and significance to you personally. One obvious example is social entrepreneurship, but it’s not necessary to seek Meaning in your career. Even if your career doesn’t make your heart sing; you can still find meaning through activities such as volunteering; supporting neighbours or family, promoting a cause, bee-keeping or gardening. What’s important is that this is something your heart desires. Living a life of meaning significantly improves your happiness levels. So, ask yourself, what’s meaningful to YOU?

What gets in the way?

  • Being disconnected from our hearts, and not sensing what’s truly important
  • Not knowing where to start with so many different interests
  • Feeling like we’re not good enough to do something this important
  • Expecting failure (so what’s the point in trying?)
  • Fear of being seen and risking judgement

Moving towards happiness

Of course, something else that can get in the way of your happiness, is spending too much time and energy focused on one of these areas. It’s important that you are balancing all three. For example, it can be too easy to get so caught up in the meaningful work that you’ve created, that you don’t make the time for the treats that bring pleasure in the moment (*hands up* totally guilty of that one!). On the other hand, you might be chasing pleasurable activities, in order to avoid the discomfort of developing self-awareness and digging deep to find what’s engaging and meaningful to you. So we need to be mindful about where we’re spending our time.

Now ask yourself these questions:

  • What are you already doing that brings you pleasure, engagement and meaning in your everyday life? Make three lists.
  • What would you like to do in each of these areas?
  • What (if anything) has been stopping you? And how are you going to change this in the future?

If you enjoy reflections like these, you’ll love the Quiet Community! Get a daily prompt to support your growth on your path to quiet confidence. Join the Community Now.


  • Hayley Stanton

    Hi, I’m Hayley - the original quieteer. I, too, identify as a quiet person. I’m naturally a highly sensitive introvert and I love and appreciate my quiet strengths now, but I spent much of my life not feeling good enough and experiencing social anxiety. I missed so many opportunities because I was afraid of being judged harshly, criticised and rejected – and because I doubted that I had the ‘right’ personality to succeed. Quiet Connections exists in part because I had a fantastic coach who helped me to work through old patterns of keeping myself small and hidden so that I could show up and be seen to play my part in creating the more connected, curious and compassionate world that I dream of. Now, I’m passionate about helping quiet people discover their unique qualities, gifts, passions and experiences and explore how best to use these to express themselves more authentically and contribute to the world in a way that works with their quieter or more sensitive nature. Get to know me here.

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